Saturday, March 3, 2012

Really, a year?

Whow, a whole year has passed since I last wrote. Yes, I have been a few miles since then.

Just a quick review of the year.
After my Brazil trip, I spent about a month in AZ. I flew to SD and visited my family for 3 weeks. Yes, I got a dose of snow. Mother flew back to AZ with me and visited family down here for a week. I think she loved the sunny days and spending time at our little campsite on the desert.

The middle of April I started my drive north. Cousin, Mary H, drove with me and we had a great time on the road. I stopped at Misty's in Boise for 10 days and then on to Shane's in Portland. I always enjoy parking in the kids yard and getting some "Nana" time. Everyone is busy with school and all their activities. Never a dull moment with grandkids around.

Sadie and I flew into Alaska on Carrie's Bday, May 10. I had more trouble getting used to all the day and night light than I ever have. It was bitter sweat to be home. Glad to be home but reminded that Fred is not with me here anymore.

I spent the summer finishing up projects that we had started together. Had a new concrete apron pored in front of the garage, put 6 gallons of stain on all the decks, had some cabinets built. One of the hardest things I did was sort through a lot of Fred's books. Anyone who knew Fred, knew that he loved books. Some of his wallet size senior photos fell out of one old paperback, yep I think it was a sci-fi. I have been taking care of his books for a long time.

Everywhere I looked there was stuff that needed to be sorted through. It had been 7 years since I have been home a whole summer. Fred and I were seldom home more than 3 weeks at a time because of his cancer treatments. I tried to just think about one thing at time or it could feel overwhelming.

I think I hauled off 8 pickup loads of stuff. Donated some to a camp, to friends, to a garage sale to raise money to adopt a baby, to a church goodwill store raising money for a new building and a couple loads to the dump.

The highlight of my summer was that Misty and Wade and their families came to spend time with me. There is nothing more encouraging than loving on grandkids. Life bounces along when there are little ones around. We made forts, went camping, and used Wade's old rope swings a lot. I got mud boots in several sizes and they were the shoes of choice. Carrie and I picked up some used bicycles that Peter fixed up and they were a hit too. My kids helped me build some new steps and boardwalk on my decks, fixed my roof and lots of other things. Altogether I think I had family for 5 or 6 weeks.

My children have really been there for me this year. I am so blessed.

Fall came all too quickly. In Alaska it was a nice long one this time, we relished every day. I flew out of state on Oct 14. Cousin Mary, who stores my camper and sub, came and picked me up at the Seattle airport. I spent 4 days with her and Paul and then headed out to Portland and Shane's. Both Shane and Kristi are taking college classes. So with 4 kids and 3 in school, their house is hopping. Spent about a week with them.

I stay in the same campground in Pendleton,OR when I pass through. Well, I stopped at my usual gas station. Of course Sadie was having a fit because of the attendant coming to our window for the ccard. I finally calmed her down and another attendant comes to the window with a dog biscuit. "Sure, she can have it", I say. Then he asks me if I have been in the area all summer because he remembers pumping gas for me last spring. "No, I was on my way home to Alaska." Turns out he had a summer job somewhere else and just wondered if I had spent the summer in Pendleton. It made me smile.

Stayed for about a week in Boise with Misty's bunch. Misty is taking college classes and their 3 kids are in school too. Whew, I know I was that busy too, back in the day. I took my time as traveled across Idaho. Stopped and visited old friends along the way. It was great to see: Rob & Carleen, Wayne & Ann, Kathy, Sarah, and Malia & Kids before heading into Wyo. Stopped at Kenny & Danna's in Neb for one night. Then Reta Fae and Ken's in northern Kansas, before landing for 3 weeks on Sandy and Rodney's farm outside of El Dorado.

Wade and family came and spent an early Thanksgiving with me. We spent time with Fred's family and my sister, Laila and family. The grandkids loved riding on the 4 wheeler and everything about the farm in general. We also spent a lot of time at the park near Fred's mothers house. All my grandkids are growing up tooooo fast.

On my way out of Kansas, I spent the night with my old classmates, David & Liz. The 3 of us together made 1/5 of out HS graduating class. It was a fun 24 hours before I hit the road again. This year I drove Hwy 54 through the panhandles of OK, TX spending the night in Tocumcari, NM. I love the sound of that name, Tocumcari. I stayed on 54 and spent a couple of nights at Carrizozo, NM. Another fun sounding name, just can't make this stuff up.

Still on 54, I drove into El Paso and spent a couple of nights with Marty and Jenn. You may remember Marty, he was one of the speakers a Fred's funeral. We went downtown for the Christmas lighting ceremony one evening and I also attended a Christmas Tea with Jenn.

The worst roads I drove on this winter were just outside of El Paso on I-10. It snowed and blew off and on all day. I couldn't believe it I had driven through WA, OR, ID, WY, NE, KS, OK, TX, and now in NM less than 20 miles from Mexico and I have snow. One thing I knew for sure, this couldn't last too long in this part of the country.

Just one more day of driving and I was here in Norman's campground. I love this place. It was the first week of December and I was ready to park my camper for the winter. The trip had been great but, I was ready to stop for awhile.

I still miss Fred terribly but the pain is not as devastating now. We shared great life together and I enjoy his continued care.

Especially in his last years, Fred was always reminding me to celebrate the moment. He liked planning extra time to stop for coffee before we went on to the next appointment. He would ask, " What can we do to make this a good day?" I continue to ask myself this question and I continue to look forward good days. Enjoy life while you are at it.

One of Fred's favorite sayings was "Every day is a holiday and every meal is a banquet."